Breastfeeding and returning to Work

You Can Continue to Breastfeed

What Steps to take Before Returning to Work

  • Take as much time as you can for maternity leave.  Talk to you boss about your options.

  • Breastfeed often to build up a good milk supply.

  • Begin pumping and storing your milk about two weeks before your start date.  If you are going back to work full-time, two weeks of pumping one time a day should give you plenty of milk stored in the freezer.

  • Talk to your boss and work out a schedule so you can pump or nurse your baby during breaks at work.  It is best to find a place and talk about your pumping needs before you have your baby.

  • Have at least one practice run where you leave your baby with a caregiver who will feed your baby a bottle of breastmilk.  Your baby may not easily take the bottle if you are in the same room.

  • Ask your employer if you can start back to work part-time at first, or have a more flexible schedule.  If your employer is open to it, ask if you can bring your baby to work.  

  • Start back to work in the middle of your work week.  Having a short first week will help you and your baby adjust.  

What Questions to Ask Your Employer

  • Is there a private space to pump?

    • Use an Office - if the door doesn't lock, hang a sign outside the door when you are pumping.​

  • Use a Cubicle

    • Use a shower curtain rod or wooden dowel to hang a large curtain outside the cubicle when you need to pump.​

  • Make a space

    • Room dividers, partitions, or even a pop-up tent can be used to make a quick pump room.​

  • Where can I store my milk

    • It is safe to store breastmilk in a shared staff refrigerator.​

    • If you will be using a shared refrigerator, store your milk containers in a brown paper bag or lunch box with your name on it.

    • An insulated bag with ice packs can be used to store freshly expressed milk for up to 24 hours. 

Sample Pumping Schedule 

                           0-6 months old

Before work at 7:00 am - Breastfeed

Break at 10:00 am - Pump

Lunch at 12:30 pm - Pump

Break at 3:00 pm - Pump

After work at 5:30 pm - Breastfeed 

                        6-12 months old

Before work at 7:00 am - Breastfeed

Lunch at 11:00 am - Pump

Break at 3:00 pm - Pump

After work at 5:30 pm - Breastfeed 

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

Storing Breastmilk Safely​​

  • 4-6 Hours in a warm room (70 degrees)

  • 24 hours in an insulated cooler with ice pack

  • 5 days in the refrigerator

  • 2 weeks in the freezer section of a one-door refrigerator

  • 3 months in the freezer of a two-door refrigerator

  • 6-12 months in a 0 degree stand-alone deep freezer